SLFP and UNP join hands in Sri Lanka
Foes turn friends for a cause, to work together for national consensus.
BY OUR POLITICS CORRESPONDENT
October 13, 2006
Foes are suddenly turning friends down south. In what could be termed a first in the political history of Sri Lanka, the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) and the United National Party, archrivals till recently, have joined hands.
The objective: Chart out a national consensus on all issues troubling the island nation. The SLFP led by President Mahinda Rajapaksa and the United National Party under the leadership of former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on Thursday agreed to pursue this goal together.
Reports from Colombo say that both the sides have also reached a consensus on signing a memorandum of understanding on six points including the ethnic
conflict issue. The two will also work together on a federal solution to combat the ethnic strife which has almost choked the country to death.
As a prelude to this agreement, representatives of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party and United National Party held parleys at the office of the President in the morning of Thursday. With a definite agenda now having been arrived at the working committee of the UNP is scheduled to meet Monday next to talk out the pros and cons of offers made by SLFP.
The leaders have said that they believe that both sides should sit down to talks with the help of Norway as the official facilitator and assistance of the co-chairs and India to solving the crises plaguing the country. Putting an end to the war is seen as a major agenda.
Rajapakse in his position as President also called upon all political outfits in the country to join hands with the Government to help overcome the challenges before them. The SLFP is planning to meet leaders of other parties soon in this regard, it is learnt.
The war that was raging between the Army and the rebel Tigers had caused a lot of casualties on either sides. The destruction had also prompted international condemnation and efforts to restore peace.